April 2, 2009
by George Guidoni, Editor
While Canadian consumer confidence has definitely seen better days than over the last year or so, there is little doubt that Canadian shoppers still represent a critical resource base of opinion and purchasing decision-making for marketers of the thousands of new CPG (consumer packaged goods) product launched in the country each year—arguably even more so at a time when most Canadian households are counting their pennies with an unprecedented degree of scrutiny.
For the Toronto-based market researchers BrandSpark International, the combined weight of that opinion and personal preferences forms the backbone of exhaustive research into consumer behavior that culminates each February in the company’s annual Best New Product Award (BPNA) competition—launched six years ago by BrandSpark’s president Robert Levy to assess the Canadian consumers’ feedback to the new national-branded product innovations flooding the Canadian marketplace in a well-defined, current socio-economic context.
Presented last month at an upscale evening gala held at The Eglinton Theater in uptown Toronto, this year’s award ceremony was a suitably upbeat, high-profile celebration of Canadian branding and marketing excellence that saw Canadian adult consumers give final verdicts on 108 newly-launched brand-names across 34 product categories (see tables below)—reflecting BPNA’s rapid evolution into a highly authoritative insider and observer of the Canadian consumers’ behavior and mood-swings.
Based on detailed consumer responses submitted online by over 25,000 Canadian adults from coast to coast—well more than double last year’s total of just over 11,000 Canadian shoppers—this year’s product selection process provided arguably a far more revealing insight into the current Canadian consumer mindset than in earlier BPNAs, based on the vast amount of useful empirical data collected during the online voting process conducted between Nov. 12 and Dec. 28, 2008.
In fact, the quality of methodology used by BrandSpark to conduct its research has enabled the consultancy to import its online awards model into the U.S. over the course of last year, where the country’s mass-circulation Better Homes in Gardens monthly magazine partenered with BrandSpark to launch a U.S. version of the BNPA competition—based on analysis of more than 50,000 individual responses from the U.S. consumers.
Widely covered in the U.S. commercial and trade media, the joint effort has enabled BrandSpark to gather additional priceless marketing research data on the multitude of both subtle and striking differences in attitudes and priorities of the U.S. and Canadian consumers—providing an extremely useful information tool for multinational brand-owners operating in both countries, according to Levy.